Fort Dodge Region Top 10 Under 40

Andrea DeJong Photo

Andrea DeJong

What’s the best part of your work?

As exciting as it is to pull off a big event like Go Big Go Dodgers successfully, I find the most joy in the little moments. I love seeing students in the schools using equipment the Foundation purchased.  I love spirited conversations with the other Foundation board members because we all care enough to be passionate. I love pulling up to my Little Free Library and seeing a kid on his tiptoes exclaiming in excitement over a book. I love hearing from a fitness class member that my strength workouts have helped her run faster. I love hearing from a kid I tutored that she passed a test that had been a struggle. Those little, but important moments are the best.

Life is full of defining moments that helped shape who you are today. What’s your defining moment?

I had a perfectly quiet, hour-long drive when my youngest was an infant. I used that entire time to reflect on life - what I wanted, what I would change, and what legacy I would like to leave. I was so overwhelmed at the time and I came to the realization that it’s good to say “no” sometimes in order to go all in with other projects. I decided that my time and abilities would be best spent devoting myself to the school foundation and that I needed to use my math abilities somehow. Thank goodness my son slept for that hour drive!

What motivates you to give back to your community?

It’s really important for me to be a good example for my children. I want them to learn to be kind and generous, use their gifts to make the world better, to not be afraid to put themselves out there, to make healthy choices, and to follow through. Also, I grew up in Fort Dodge and have always loved the area.

What community project that you were involved in are you most proud of and why?

The first Go Big Go Dodger fundraiser was held only a couple of months after I started as president of the FDCS Foundation. It was crazy stressful that first year, but it was really satisfying to see it come together with a lot of work from the Foundation board members and myself. It’s fun to be part of a project that is different from the rest. We’ve grown and raised more money each year. I’ve always been more of an idea person, but being in this position of leadership has forced me to work hard and follow through.

What’s the best part of living in the Fort Dodge area?

The people! We have family in the area and good friends. People are pretty friendly around here when you treat them with kindness and respect.

Who are your heroes?

I look up to my parents in particular. Dad, Craig Hamilton, grew his insurance business up from the ground into a big success and served the community on the school board. He had to make tough decisions, but did not back down from what was needed. People can always count on him. My mom, Nancy Hamilton, always has a project and it’s always something to help other people. We tease her about it, but she truly goes all in to make projects successful. I also think of the teachers in the schools as heroes. Their work is so, so important and not praised enough.

What’s on your bucket list?

Anytime my husband and I go on a trip, I like to find a new activity that I haven’t done before. We’ve had some amazing experiences. I think I’d like to kayak in a glass bottom kayak at night and see bioluminescent fi sh. Being physically fi t has opened the doors to the world in what we’re able to do for fun.

What’s one thing you wish you’d known when you were younger?

It would have been helpful to see my current life back when I was going through teenage angst. It truly does get better.

What would you like to share about your family and/or hobbies?

I have three hilarious kids, a crazy dog, and a handsome, awesome husband. We love to ride bikes together and go on adventures. I like to read, stand up paddleboard, and exercise to unwind. I think trigonometry proofs are fun. I’m okay with being a little weird.

What improvements would make your community an even better place to live?

I’m very excited about the Warden and Rec proposal and really hope funds can be raised to make it a reality. I’d love to see the old building renovated with a cultural center. Obviously, we could use a new Rec facility. It would be so fun to have a revitalized downtown!

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104 South 17th Street
Fort Dodge, IA 50501